Sunday, 4 April 2021

SD86 - 17 - SD8167- Lecanora rupicola - Stainforth NW - Big white lichen - on exposed faces on ACID ROCK


Craven is blessed with many rock types. Hence - many different lichens.

The cat on the right is admiring the Lecanora rupicola on a slate gravestone at Horton in Ribblesdale.

This post deals with a walk near Stainforth to look at Lecanora rupicola - with digressions to Horton in Ribblesdale and the Coast of Anglesey

Landmark lichen 1 - was Aspicilia calcarea forming big white patches on limestone wall tops.

Today we are going to look at another big white lichen - this time on vertical faces on ACID ROCK - e.g above Stainforth 

( It also occurs at local beauty spots I have visited outside out side our hectad - e.g. Horton in Ribblesdale Churchyard, Low Bentham Churchyard, and especially on some Scottish  and Welsh Coastal sites where it is a dominant lichen).

Acid rocks can have OTHER BIG WHITE LICHENS as I mention at the end of the post.  But let's do Lecanora rupicola first

Landmark Lichen 4: Lecanora rupicola

This striking big white lichen grows on acid rocks:, especially vertical acid rocks.. but not just any acid rock. It seems to do well on selected slates and greywackes on the very old rocks that appear at the surface of our world  above Stainforth and Horton in Ribblesdale (Ordovician and Silurian).

Wall just north of Stainforth -See Stainforth church to the right

I went back on a sunnier day on 1 April to try and get a brighter picture

The lambs in the field were enjoying the warm afternoon

Some of the most striking patches are at Horton in Ribblesdale churchyard, three miles to the north

Horton in Ribblesdale Churchyard

The map shows it  grows especially well beside the coast.

I have also seen it on rocks on walls on romantic western coast headlands in Scotland where there is much more of this ancient rock'


  1. Forms big white patches

  2. The thallus is thick

  3. When thalli grow next to each other there is a noticeable line where they meet (giving a map effect a bit like Rhizocarpon geographicum.)

  4. The thallus can be divided into areoles with wiggly edges. But sometimes areoles don't form.

  5. The thallus stains yellow with KOH

  6. If it has apothecia. They can be big (1-2mm) with a cream-pinkish disk and a white border. 

  7. The disks can also be dark and have a crinkly border

  8. They can also be immersed.


  9. The apothecia can often be infected with a parasitic lichen called Arthonia radians. This is dark grey/black and can make the whole apothecia look black.

  10. If infected the apothecia can be sunken and several per areole - and then it looks like Aspicilia calcarea - But you would rarely mix them up because they grow on different rock types.

Lecanora rupicola at Horton Churchyard

Lecanora rupicola stains yellow with KOH

Here the discs are pink

Two thalli meet.
Here some discs are pink and some are black. the black ones may be infected. Well even some of the pink ones look a bit infected.

Some pictures from the coast of Wales:-
Lecanora rupicola on ancient acid rock on
Holy Island, Anglesey. on a BLS field trip

Below: more rocks by the coast on another day of the trip

Back to Stainforth.

I carried on north to the next field, to the field north of Rains Barn
where there is a stream running down the hillside (when it is wet) and cutting through these ancient acid rocks.

Here I  found some other lichens: 
Such as a favourite of mine Xanthoparmelia conspersa
with the view looking back to Stainforth

A little higher was this rock with the same view looking back to Stainforth Church. Close examination of the "Big White Patches" revealed that some were not so white.

In fact the patches were yellowish - a good candidate for Lecanora sulphurea 

Higher up I found some more white patches. A completely different species. But I'll describe it in another post.

Just note the zoned effect at the margin (like an oyster..) above  
and a close up below show lumps which turn into white soralia,
and the reaction with K (at abut 11pm) was negative and the reaction with C (centre and 6pm) was shocking pink.  - Or if you can guess put your suggestion in the comments.

Some "Daddy " sheep came to see what I was doing.  
(Tups- "Leicesters of some sort?")
 Time to return home.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Settle Wildflowers - Day 106 - Goat Willow, Larch, Sloe

 Three more tree flowers - each flowering now and each with a Settle story to tell

Part of "Wildflowers on Exercise Walks around Settle 2020-2021" --

Goat Willow


1.  Pussy Willow or Goat Willow.  Salix caprea

Broad leaves distinguishes this from most other common willows in the UK and the leaves are "woolly" underneath. It is one of the willows  where the flowers come out before the leaves. This willow will grow in dry places whereas most other willows prefer wet places. It is used in flower decorations at Easter.

There are male and female plants - the tree in this picture has anthers so is male.

I took this picture on 28 March 2021. But I took a picture of the same tree three months earlier on 20 December, on 25 December  and counted it as a plant in flower for the New Year Plant Hunt... even though the anthers weren't showing then.

28 March 2

20 December 2020 - same tree- maybe same branch

8 April 2020 Main Road just past Stainforth

2. Larch
I just love the pink flowers of Larch flowers - Do go out and look for them now. 

3. Sloe - or Blackthorn - Prunus spinosus 

This picture was taken on 14 April 2014 from the top of Castleberg.

Unfortunately the Sloe bushes were chopped down in late 2020 - which improved the view, and makes it easier for climbers - but they did provide a very useful safety barrier above the vertical drop below.
Here are two more pictures from 2000
23 April 2000 - Castleberg summit
Jim Nelson (centre) Rev Tony Dent (left) Castleberg summit 24 April 2000

I expert the shoots will grow again. Also I much appreciate some of the scrub removal on Castleberg - much removal of sycamore and some of other crees is needed to give the flowers underneath a chance.

Here is a picture of a member of Carven Conservation Group at a totally different site (Bank Newton Meadow) removing a slue sucker.. The sloe spreads a long way.

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

YNU Zoom Chat Meetings

The Zoom Link for the  YNU Zoom Chat Meeting on Fri 23 April at 7.30pm is

Register in advance for this meeting:

Meeting ID: 882 5156 9141     Passcode: 111005

Mini-talks on Friday 23rd include:

  • Sawflies
  • Pasque flower in East Yorkshire and the project on ex-situ propagation

Plus plenty of time to meet each other from across Yorkshire in small groups (breakout groups)  and raise other topics.

If you would like to give a four to six minutes talk at a future Chat event (even if you haven't been to a meeting before) - please contact me.


The YNU holds two types of Zoom meetings:  Speaker Meetings and Chat Meetings:

1. Zoom Speaker Meetings 

The YNU is holding Zoom Speaker Meetings about once a month. The latest one was on Thursday 25 March on "Nosterfield" Nature Reserves, given by Simon Warwick. Visit the YNU website where there will shortly be a link so that you can, for a month,  watch this excellent talk.

The next one will be by Louise Hill on Lindholme and the Fire on Hatfield Moor - probably the 15th April

2. YNU Zoom Chat Meetings

These include three to four  short (4-5 minute) talks and also the opportunity to meet members from across Yorkshire in small groups (breakout groups)

The next one is on 23th April

The first Zoom Chat meeting was held on 26 Feb: Members attended - from Sheffield to Croft (near Darlington) - from Scarborough to Settle. From Pocklington to Barnsley.  We had talks on Moths, St Kilda, Microscopic Freshwater Life and more. 

The second was held on 12 March: Talks were given on: Freshwater life under the high power microscope (videos); Four Ferns in Four Minutes; The history of the YNU in 10 minutes; and a talk on Wild Orchid Propagation.

The third one on Friday 26 March presented talks on Blowwells and Bryozoa, Gooseberries in hedgerows, Accessing previous editions of the Naturalist online  and hibernating bats.

The fourth one on 9 April included talks on Plant Galls, Fossils (by a 12 year old) Bee-flies and Pillwort in Yorkshire.

  They are open to members of the YNU and members of affiliated societies.  They start at 7.30pm (doors open at 7.15).

The Zoom Link for the Meeting on 23 April is

Meeting ID: 882 5156 9141     Passcode: 111005

Afraid of using Zoom? 

Some of you might like to have a practice using Zoom before the meeting and to have a go at "Share Screen" and learn what more of the buttons do in Zoom.  I (Judith) am very happy to hold practice sessions first with members who would like to have one. 

Proposed YNU Zoom Chat Programme for 23 April

7.15: "Assemble"

7.30: Official start

7.35: Breakout Groups: we will divide into groups according to interest this evening: 1) Birds, 2) Higher Plants,  4) Insects  5) mammals other suggestions? contact me.

7 45: Four planned short talks of 4 to 8 min each plus 5 min each for discussion

8.35: Coffee Break

8.45: Announcements

8.50: More discussion/ Photos by anyone else

9.10: Plan the next event.

9:15: Finish

For more details contact

Sunday, 14 March 2021

Settle Wildflowers - Day 105 - Why do Trees in March have red flowers? - Hazel, Alder and Elm


Hazel - 2 March - Low Bentham Churchyard

Alder on a walk near Langcliffe

Female Alder Flowers 

Wych Elm flowers - I must admit, they have opened
considerably since I picked them a few days ago.

Why should they all be the lovely red colour - 
they are wind pollinated and do not need to attract insects?

Scientists studying the physiology of fall foliage have suggested that the anthocyanins responsible for red colour in leaves – in autumn or spring –  may help them withstand cold and screen them  from damaging ultraviolet rays, air pollution, and various other assaults.

Settle Wildflowers Day 103: Snowdrops and Green Hellebore

21 Jan:

January and February are a thin time for wild flowers in Yorkshire, after the last  "New Year Plant Hunt" flowers of last year have died off.. 

However, here are some flowers in the Friends Meeting house on 21 Jan photographed after a Settle Hub Support Group.  Yes they are garden plants but they could escape...

By March there is a riot of plants in this garden.. but that is for another day

And  while you are here, Look at two lichens: 
Porpidia tuberculosa (Cigarette Ash Lichen) on the gritstone capstones of the wall

And looking up to Castleberg Crag there is Aspicilia calcarea with its big white patches

Sunday, 7 March 2021

SD86 - 19 - SD8169a Xanthoria calcicola- Helwith Bridge

This is the "end" of my second strip of 1 km squares (monads) in SD 86. - My project to record all 100 monads  of my home hectad SD86 over ten years. 

Xanthoria calcicola

This post refers to the work in 2019 and 2020 surveying monads, 
leading up to and including the walk on 5 March 
when I found Xanthoria calcicola 
at end of this post

In 2019 (starting in March) I worked my way up the first strip from Rathmell (Monad 00 - SD8060)  to  Helwith Bridge quarry and SSSI  Bog (Monad 09 - SD8069)

In 2020 I worked the way - with several diversions -  up the second strip.  Starting from Monad 10 SD8160 - Mearbeck - Settle Junction -  noisy A65 - then through Settle, Giggleswick, Little Stainforth. Sherwood Brow  finally to Helwith Bridge  to Monad 19 - SD8169 - which is where we are at today. 

Much of it was done during "lockdown" and on walks from my house or from the supermarket carpark in Settle.

As leaves came out in April and May 2020 I went on walks concentrating on trees, leaving the rocks for later. Walks happened quicker than I had time to write up.. so some results still remain in packets or on sheets of paper.. Oh Dear. Mistake!! And then I started blogging about Settle Wildflower Lockdown Walks

When I commenced the project I only intended visiting a corner of each monad - Now I am visiting more and more of each monad.

It is March 2021 so I need to "finish" my second strip. I look at the map, and think "Helwith Bridge - SD8169 -  a five minute drive up the road - 2.8 miles away.. No problem. Have it done in a "jiff". 

(After all I already have some results from that hot Sunday last year when I walked up the deserted B6471 to Helwith Bridge Quarry Carpark beside the river and found Ramalina fraxinea on a tree beside the river and a beautiful patch of Peltigera species. ).

Lunchtime 1: (5 March)

Park at the Helwith Bridge Corner. (Where you would overshoot to if you are driving to fast along the B6479 just before the Helwith Bridge turnoff)  The dry stone walls in either side of the road between that corner and the Railway bridge reveal 11 species.

No Acarospora fuscata! or excessive Klebsormidium crenulatum (Nuisance alga) That is interesting. many of the gritstone walls higher up have a lot. Is this because  it is greywacke and slate and not gritstone. Or because it is low down in the valley bottom. Or because of   dust from the road. or because no manure has been sprayed. (Not the last - I saw manure on the field). The road is a bit dusty because of Lorries coming form the Roadstone Quarry.  

Have to come back for a Zoom meeting (A practice for a YNU Zoom Chat Meeting )

Evening 1:  (5 March)

Same parking place. I walk from the stile at the railway bridge by the slaty / greywacke wall beside the Railway. Find some nice fruiting Diploschistes muscorum - (growing on moss and mortar and mosses in cracks between the vertical slate capstones). 

Diploschistes muscorum -  See chemicals on left: K yellow, C red
- Apothecia described as urceolate - shaped like an urn or pitcher  deeply concave, cup shaped with the margins incurved

(Coincidence that I had found the same species though not fruiting on a limestone erratic just last week at Black Gill 10 km south)

I head for two big ash trees near a barn. Yep, my efforts are rewarded: I do a little jig

Normandina pulchella !!

Parmalina pastillifera!!

(These were both thought to be rare in this area at least.. I am finding them quite often now)

Normandina pulchella

Parmalina pastillifera

In the dwindling twilight I look round the outside of  the  old barn walls. Surely this Xanthoria is not ordinary Xanthoria parietina (though there is some of that there too, loooking green in comparison)

It is big but it is darker orange than the usual, it is not fruiting, and it has lots of curly wrinkles that could be described as isidia.

It is 18.10 and cold and almost dark as I return home. How wonderful that the days are now getting longer!!

Look out for part b of this Monad: SD86 - 19 - SD8169b. to be written up shortly .. maybe